Dunne on verge of surprise return for Georgia match

Stephen Quinn called in to squad following withdrawal of the injured Paul Green

Giovanni Trapattoni of the Republic of Ireland at a press conference at an Ireland training session at Watford FC Training Ground on Sunday. Photograph: Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

Giovanni Trapattoni of the Republic of Ireland at a press conference at an Ireland training session at Watford FC Training Ground on Sunday. Photograph: Ben Hoskins/Getty Images


Richard Dunne could make a dramatic return to international action against Georgia on Sunday with the Dubliner having trained with the squad in St Albans where he suggested to Giovanni Trapattoni that he would like to be involved in the team’s end-of-season games.

The 33-year-old last played on Aston Villa’s pre-season tour of the United States last summer and the Italian dismissed the idea of giving him a run out against England at Wembley on Wednesday. However, he said he would weigh up the idea of bringing him on in Sunday’s game, despite being concerned about the damage that any injury might do to the veteran defender’s hopes of getting a club for next season.

“I spoke to him and clarified the situation with him,” said the Ireland manager after the squad’s first training session of the week at their base just north of London. “I made it clear to him that he’s still very important to us for the future.

“The situation is that he needs to get a club and he needs to avoid any new injury because an injury for him now would be very dangerous. But I told him; ‘Sure you can train with us, we are happy to have you and you deserve our respect but you need to think about the future.’”

Despite that, he said the former Everton and Manchester city player, who has just been released by Aston Villa but linked with moves to America and the Middle East, could be involved at the weekend. “Perhaps we can choose the moment when he is ready but it will not be against England. That would be too hard but maybe Georgia.”

With Paul Green ruled out of the squad with a hamstring injury, Trapattoni has handed Stephen Quinn his first international call-up since 2007. “He’s a player that we have been watching for a long time,” said the Italian of the 27-year-old left-sided Hull City player. “He’s a good midfielder, quick and dynamic with a good personality.”

Quinn is the only addition to the squad with most of those named turning up as expected yesterday. Aiden McGeady was delayed by Spartak Moscow club commitments after having had a ban shortened, while Darren O’Dea, Damien Delaney and Robbie Keane are all expected to join up with the group over the next 24 hours.

Keane, he said, would be assessed when he arrives before a call is made on whether the striker, who was due to be involved with LA Galaxy for their game against Seattle Sounders last night, is fresh enough to start against England and captain the team. Moreover, the manager revealed that Keane is now likely to leave the squad after the qualifying against the Faroe Islands rather than travel to New York for the friendly against Spain.

This appears to have been the deal struck with Galaxy manager Bruce Arena in order to get him released for this week’s game here in London.

It also means, however, that even if the plan doesn’t change and he only gets to feature in three of Ireland’s four games during the next two weeks, he will head off for the summer as Ireland’s most capped player, having passed Shay Given’s record of 125 caps.

Glenn Whelan and Marc Wilson skipped the end-of-session training game at the Watford training ground last night. The midfielder worked alone with one of the squad’s physiotherapists while Wilson sat and watched the 19 players who did take part. Both have calf problems.

“Glenn said to me that he needed to rest for the moment,” said Trapattoni afterwards, “but he thinks that in two days he can be ready. Marc Wilson says that he has a slightly tight calf but he is okay as well. Having Wilson against England would be important but we have to be careful with him. If I am not sure, I will keep him for the Faroes.”

James McCarthy also has a slight hamstring problem and Trapattoni said he would be monitoring his fitness in the coming days.

He also insisted that he is content that Anthony Pilkington’s absence is based on his injury and that he can still be a member of the squad in the future.

The veteran coach said, meanwhile, that he is not concerned about the threat of any trouble at Wednesday’s game because “both countries have changed a lot politically (since the abandoned game at Lansdowne Road in 1995)”.